Sunday, July 31, 2016

Three Poems by Rose Mary Boehm

Cemetery in Southern Spain


From far we could see it, the long path,
cypress lined, planned for long
processions to contemplate
what lies ahead, coffin
or urn, locked up
forever behind grey stone.
We imagine yet another funeral,
yet another accepted loss
in a small community.


As God wills.
Clutching her rosary
a mother re-arranges
dark curls on a white silk
cushion,  She was only six,
holy father.


The old men sit in the square,
their black boinas shoved
to the back of their heads.
It's hot.  Walking sticks
between their knotty hands.
They know they soon won't
need them any longer.
The only question, Who'll be next?


Forty days of mourning.  The women
stay in black.  There are not enough
days without the dead to
dance the pasa doble in
flirtatious floral skirts.
Slowly their backs bend
to the will of their church.


I remember a time
when nothing could keep me from
floating, especially when I was in love.  I'd rise
easily into the clouds and rest
in their fluffiness.
Since then earth gravity
has increased.
Or, while I wasn't watching
I may have changed planet.
I fight the pressure
every day.
Getting out of bed
I seem to turn
into a heavy sack
of flesh and bones.  Every time
I get up from my chair I weigh more.
Climbing the steps
out of the pool
my specific weight
increases to that of iron.
Even my brain has shrunk
into itself, my will is defeated,
my powers of observation limp.
Spiders walk across my eyes,
bees buzz in my ear canal,
algae and dry moss fill
empty spaces
where only yesterday
my poems grew.
Mornings shiver me and
evenings leave me shriveled.
My steps are smaller now, hesitant,
and the heart is confused,
shaky and indecisive.

Do Oceans Have Underwater Borders?

Do mermaids speak
Indian or Atlantic?
How do the waters know where
to turn back?  How do turtles,
who don't take a blind bit of notice,
know where they are?

Perhaps there's a Pacific border police:
"No salmon allowed beyond
this point."  Can you make out the different
oceans from space?  What is Earth's name
for South China Sea?

As the whales breach from North to South
and back again, I imagine them
saying in deep whale-sized voices,
"Thank God, Hubert, they didn't ask
for our passports when we crossed
into the Arctic Sea."

A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru.  Author of Tangents, a poetry collection published in the UK in 2010/2011, her work has been widely published in US poetry journals (online and print).  She was twice winner of the Goodreads monthly competition, and a new poetry collection is earmarked for publication in May/June in the US.


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